The Real Deal New York

Build It Back still on back burner as residents fume

Houses slammed by Hurricane Sandy won't be move-in ready until November
March 20, 2014 03:00PM

About 500 homeowners awaiting Build It Back funds to replenish their Hurricane Sandy-damaged homes won’t be seeing their promised cash any time soon.

Long plagued with delays in the distribution of nearly $650 million in federal funds set aside for New Yorkers to rebuild their homes, the program won’t help residents get back in their rebuilt homes until November — at the earliest. The remainder won’t see construction begin until September, and no repairs on any single family homes have started as of yet. Many require special permits before work can even commence, DNAinfo reported.

The estimated timeline was presented by Build It Back and Department of Housing Preservation and Development representatives at Community Board 2’s general meeting on Tuesday.

“We don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Dee Vandenburg, head of the Staten Island Taxpayers’ Association, which has worked with storm victims. “They’re just dragging their feet.”

Around 20,000 homeowners applied for recovery assistance from the Build It Back Program. Roughly 170 applicants received money, according to previous reports. In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio told DNAinfo that the pace of distribution has been “a profound problem.” [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland